London, UK, 1 December 2002. A UK-based, start-up biotechnology company, Plasticell Ltd, has been created to commercialise an innovative high throughput technology for cell biology.
Plasticell was founded by scientist and entrepreneur Dr Yen Choo and owns intellectual property drawn to Combinatorial Cell Culture™, a bead-based high throughput screening system for the discovery of serial cell culture protocols that are particularly useful in the emerging field of stem cell research. The company has been seeded by the founder and will seek grant and equity financing in 2003.
Stem cells can be differentiated in vitro to yield more than 200 types of somatic cells for use in biomedical applications such as cell therapy. However, methods of directing the differentiation of stem cells towards a given lineage are discovered by trial and error: their development is therefore extremely complex, costly and time consuming. Combinatorial Cell Culture™ assays large numbers of protocols concurrently and therefore promises to accelerate stem cell research.
Prior to founding Plasticell Dr Choo was the founder and Chief Scientist of Gendaq Ltd, an MRC biotechnology company based on his research on zinc finger proteins together with the Cambridge-based Nobel laureate Sir Aaron Klug. The company used combinatorial biology methods to engineer highly specific zinc finger DNA binding proteins, useful for the control of gene expression and manipulation of DNA in vivo. Gendaq was acquired by NASDAQ-listed Sangamo Biosciences in 2001.